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AGU journal highlights -- Aug. 6, 2009
Date:8/6/2009

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Authors: A. Gettleman and M. Park: Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA;

P. H. Lauritzen: Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA;

J. E. Kay: Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, USA; also at Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres (JGR-D) paper 10.1029/2009JD011785, 2009; http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009JD011785


10. How ocean mass flows around Antarctica

Understanding the dynamics of how ocean masses move in response to wind and other stresses is important for understanding the global ocean circulation and the climate system. To study mass flows in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica and how they relate to wind stress, Ponte and Quinn analyze data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission (which measures Earth's gravity field and can sense mass movement) and estimates of winds and currents produced by the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) project. The results indicate that mass exchange occurs primarily between the Southern Ocean and the Pacific. The authors show how near-surface meridional flows directly driven by zonal winds are balanced by deepwater return flows that are slightly lagged in time. They point out that the study helps clarify the dynamic mechanisms that relate wind stress to ocean mass flows in the Southern Ocean and demonstrates the usefulness of the GRACE satellites in monitoring ocean mass variations.

Title: Bottom pressure changes around Antarctica and wind-driven meridional flows

Authors: Rui M. Ponte and Katherine J. Quinn: Atmospheric and Environmental Researc
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Contact: Maria-Jose Vinas
mjvinas@agu.org
202-777-7530
American Geophysical Union
Source:Eurekalert

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